Matthew Barton

Posted on Wednesday 17th July 2013

Partner, Forresters
BSc. (Hons) Chemistry with Analytical Science (1998), PhD Chemistry (2001)

After my PhD, although I enjoyed working in the chemistry lab I decided that it was not for me long-term. I looked for job opportunities where I could use the chemistry that I had learnt, but in a different environment. I was fortunate enough to be offered a trainee position at Forresters patent and trade mark attorneys, where over the course of 5 years I qualified as a UK and European patent attorney, specialising in chemistry. I have since moved up to being a partner in the firm, with responsibilities for running the company.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

My job is very diverse. I need to use the language of chemistry every day in my professional work, but that work is legal-based rather than academic. I have contact with clients around the world and I enjoy the opportunities to travel and meet them.

What was the best thing about your time as a student here?

The balance between study time and free time to enjoy the extra-curricular activities offered by the University meant that I could obtain my degrees and enjoy life on campus. Specifically I enjoyed my time working at the entertainments department in the Guild of Students.

In what way did living and studying in Birmingham live up to your expectations?

I chose Birmingham in particular because of the campus: everything is close together on the same site. This meant that meeting people, and working, studying and socialising were all easy to do. The quality of the facilities and teaching at the School of Chemistry were also excellent.

How did you grow as a person by coming to University? Did it change your life in any way?

My confidence grew enormously during the time I was at Birmingham. As well as the academic learning, my studies included transferable skills such as computing but also, most importantly, gaining confidence in presenting/public speaking. Without those skills I would not be in the job that I am still in today. I am sure that this new confidence stood out at my interview.

What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?

As well as the mandatory study, make the most of the optional opportunities that are on offer. Do as many presentations as you can. Go to the Guild and get involved in a society, or in the entertainments, or working there; it is a great way to make friends and develop non-academic skills.